New Year’s Eve and everyone’s a critic

nye2ABC’s New Year’s Eve broadcast pulled a huge 1.37m viewers for its midnight fireworks, 100,000 more than last year.

It may well prove to be the broadcaster’s biggest audience of the year (as it was in 2014).

There was another 92,000 watching on ABC News 24, taking the total metro audience to 1.46m.

Adding Regional viewers, the numbers boosted to 2 million on both channels.

There was also 1.01m for the Family Fireworks at 9pm, up from 984,000 a year ago, plus 64,000 on ABC News 24.

According to ABC, in Sydney more than 1 in 4 tuned into the coverage.

Justin Holdforth, ABC Head of Sport and Events says: “The Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks are an iconic and much loved event. I’m delighted that the ABC was again able to deliver a spectacular night of family entertainment to audiences across Australia.”

But some media and social media were more divided over the broadcast, again criticising the broadcaster’s technical skills, some of the presenting and editorial choices.

Last year ABC was widely castigated for its inaugural broadcast. This year there was improvement, relying on more pre-recorded segments rather than asking presenters to freewheel for 4 hours.

But it wasn’t without some hiccups with vision freezing, shots of the backs of presenter heads while watching the fireworks and Julia Zemiro’s unfortunate”Oh thank God” at the end of the broadcast before her microphone had been switched off. Watching Tom Ballard’s helicopter supposedly go down amid a barrage of fireworks was bad timing, given recent news incidents.

Such vast Live broadcasts are not easy. ABC would do well to put former Nine exec Adrian Swift onto the case next year.

But while some media insisted the event was a waste of money and it should be handed back to a commercial broadcaster they are possibly forgetting such a grand event usually attracts criticism no matter who has it.

In 2010 readers criticised Nine’s broadcast for erratic vision switching, lack of HD, presenters (Cameron Williams, Alicia Gorey), news wrap (Peter Overton) and music party (Richard Wilkins).

The 2009 broadcast by TEN was scoffed at for using cheerleaders and Seven’s Melbourne fireworks were criticised for network self-promotion.

Similar big ticket events such as Olympics and Logies also attract plenty of opinion. Even the ABC Network in the US was criticised for its broadcast -which is not to say such opinions are without merit.

But context is also important.

At any big party, it’s inevitable that some guests will weigh in on the hosts, the music, the food and yes, sometimes even the fireworks.


  1. I don’t think this year’s coverage was much better than last year for the simple reason that it wasn’t entertaining. The crosses to the reporters interstate and NZ were supposed to be funny but weren’t. The musical acts were boring – I had never even heard of most of them. The roving reporters in the crowds by the Harbour and at the Lord Mayor’s Party were annoying and the people they spoke to not interesting. Julia Zemiro is one of the best presenters on Australian TV but not even she could save the broadcast.

  2. Maybe next year just split the broadcast up into individual programs:

    7.30 News Year in Review
    8.30 Family Fireworks
    9.15 Pub Quiz
    10.15 Rage: Hits of the Year (or a live concert)
    11.30 Midnight Fireworks
    12.20 Rage Party Songs

    With occasional crosses back to the Harbour between 9.15 and 11.30

  3. @ J Bar – I really like those ideas 🙂

    I enjoyed it on thw whole. Far better than any commercial network has ever done.

    I am just waiting for “honest” Tone or “entitled” Joe (or one of their media stooges) to come out and whinge how left-wing the broadcast was…after all, they didn’t say how glorious the Liberal Party is every 5 minutes did they? 😉

    Or has someone elsewhere already said that and I missed it ’cause my head was throbbing too much?

  4. So next year, slotted in between the two live firework segments, they should just show the Pub Quiz as a half hour show and have a pre-recorded show similar to the Friday Crack-up covering the year’s events.

    Have a couple of good guests interviewed in those live fireworks crosses and don’t bother with vox pops about the fireworks and resolutions, with boring randoms in the crowd.

  5. I remember when Ch 7 did the fireworks and Packed To The Rafters had or was about to start on the channel. They had Rebecca Gibney and Erik Thomson up the front and by themselves when they did the close-up shots of the harbour bridge. Was quite tacky.

  6. TasTVcameraman

    I really enjoyed the Pub Quiz, and after that I was so interested I fell asleep…….I watched it but it is hard to do 4 hours of live TV.

    I would not want to go back to the Nine coverage, so people just remember that there is a button or control that turns the damm thing off and on.

    If you are not satisfied turn it off….simple really.

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